By the time it was the afternoon of the 21st of September, the launch date of When Change Happens…concerns and trepidations had passed. What can happen on the day of the launch of what was over two years of concerted effort and commitment? Was it over confidence? No. Just positive affirmation. A call from a friend calmed my frayed nerves. I hung up and the anxiety of the last few weeks gave way to a white and almost warm blanket of calm by mid-morning. She just said to ‘receive’; to disengage from the current frenzy we were in and step outside. Enjoy the process, she said, as she hung up. There ain’t going to be another day like this, she reminded me.
I went through my to-do list. Our friends, all of you, promised you’d be there. The boxes of checklist ticked in. The books bright and smelling fresh. The video was ready. The posters were stacked. The easel stands picked up. Our panelists had arrived in Singapore.
3.15 pm. We get a WhatsApp picture from our filmmaker, Veeru. It shows a blue sea of chairs at the venue. Okay, so now only the audience is awaited. It is now. The charge builds. We arrive at the venue much before the show. The University Lounge, of the Wee Kim Wee Centre, Singapore Management University is decked up. A quiet flutter. Dr. Kirpal Singh’s asistant, Sharleen, smart and as usual energetic, is quietly giving instructions while setting up the easels with her team of staff. The camera crew stationed. The technical team is adjusting the sound system. All looks good to roll.
I receive a call. Someone close but not so close geographically, says that he will send us positive energy at 5.30 pm SGT, the appointed hour of our launch.
5.30 pm happens and some early guests have already dotted the room. Tara, our Editor, Mohammed, our Guest of Honour, Tim Hammons, the graphic recordist shows up with his easel and white board and Leah Zveglich, looking sharp, emerges, too. The other panelists arrive. I see Ravi Velloor, the moderator to the evening. Notes exchanged, more guests turn up. More introductions, some one leafing through the book, Tara doling out anecdotes on the book which now end up in hearty laughs.
The audience now thickly populates the room. I see Dr. Kirpal Singh, our host and MC of the evening. The lounge is usurped. This is real. I loose Lalit. The Wee Kim Wee staff is in control. I see Vihaan managing a situation. I can’t see myself in this room. And I am here. An author is born.
I knew it would happen some day. One day. On the flight towards our on-going vision these are but mere early steps.
Friends, new and some friends of friends. Many dear. Many who know of how this has been a product of passion. The support of all makes us, feel strong. Makes us feel winners.
I am here I tell myself. A warm feeling engulfs.
Later, when I asked Lalit about his feelings, he tells me this:
The gift of presence at the book launch is his reward. By being with us on that evening of September 21, 2016, Lalit heard your loud and harmonious cheer to his brand of change. Thank You.
– Minal Jagtiani, who the author designates as the force behind his work:)
Please see our FB page for more pictures of that special day. https://www.facebook.com/whenchangehappens/